Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A week or so ago

The weekend after our final anatomy exam was a bit surreal. For starters I had only gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before the exam. This doesn’t affect me too much initially, but by the following evening I start feeling a bit displaced. I don’t get tired exactly, I just feel like I should be sleeping. But instead of sleeping I was at the Post Gross Toast. This is the party where we celebrate not failing for the first 3 months of med school. It’s also where a large portion of the class gets quite drunk. The drinking effect was further compounded by the fact that the next day was the Michigan game and evidently the only way to experience the best football game in the nation is to be extremely hammered. Not only drunk at the game but drunk for the 24 hours proceeding the game, as well as some time afterward. Whereas alcohol is frequently consumed at med school events (the irony isn’t lost on us), it was consumed more this night.

Drunk-watching (a subset of people-watching) is an enjoyable activity. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it’s certainly the best thing to do if you’re at a bar for a couple hours. I said the weekend was surreal and for me dealing with drunks is somewhat surreal. You know that their actions and conversations aren’t normal, and yet they’re happening right there in front of you. You’re never sure what they’re going to remember or if they’re being uninhibited or acting contrary to their actual feelings. You pretty much have to discount anything that you experience that night as being outside your normal reality. Even weirder is to imagine myself in their situation. What kind of drunk would I be? The world shall never know.

The next day was the Michigan game, perhaps the most important day of the year in Ohio. I’m only partially joking. The fact that we were playing Michigan, and that we were ranked 1st and 2nd in the nation was all-consuming upon the minds of nearly everyone in the state. Normally I don’t deign to grace football-related activities with my presence, but this particular day I deigned. I had nothing to study, everyone else was doing it and the event might never happen again. We started by going tailgating around 10. It was unwise to try to drive in Columbus on this day of days, so we walked to the medical school parking lot. Here a group of med students had gathered to celebrate our impending victory. There was a surprisingly large amount of free food considering the poor nature of the students involved, and even more free alcohol. We enjoyed some bratwurst and fried cheese, which is quite likely the least healthy meal of all time. We played some corn-hole and Bryce and I also played a game of beer pong (don’t worry, we had designated drinkers.) After a couple hours of hanging out in a parking lot we called it quits and headed over to the stadium. As did a half million other people.

The stadium fits 106,000 people, who all hang out around the stadium before the game. In addition another 400,000 come to see the spectacle that is game day. There were booths and tents everywhere, even a number set up in the middle of the road. Luckily the roads are all blocked off the night before. The sea of red was really quite impressive. More impressive were the people with football fields shaved in their hair, homemade OSU sweaters and creative anti-Michigan wear. The “Ann Arbor is a whore” shirts were amusing at first, but ultimately lack originality. I decided that if I get bored next year I’ll make a shirt that says “Ann Arbor accepts financial reimbursement for sexual services.”

We saw the sights around the stadium, then snuck into the skull session. I’m really not familiar with this tradition, but basically it was a pep rally that the OSU band (“The Best Band in the Land”) puts on immediately before the game. They did seem pretty good but I have no way of knowing if their boasting is justified. Eventually Bryce went into the stadium (he was the lone member of The Five to have a ticket) and the rest of us walked back to my place to watch the game on our big screen. We did win and maintain our 1st place ranking going into the bowl game season. I suppose it’s nice being the best, but I really found the situations surrounding the game more interesting than the game itself.

Go Bucks.

PS. Our basketball team is now also #1. I’m obviously good luck for this school.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The end of anatomy as we know it

In honor of the day after Thanksgiving, I’ll try to make you lose your appetite. And I realize that it’s now 2 days after T-day, but it’s a vacation and I can’t be bothered to write a whole entry in a single day.

This last unit of anatomy was probably the most interesting. We had a full month devoted to the head and neck, which was a very high time to body surface ratio. They did throw more histology and embryo at us, but it still afforded us the luxury of more time per body part.

Certain parts were very interesting, as I expected them to be. We got to remove the brain early on by using a bone saw to remove the skull above the eyeline. We don’t get to dissect the brain until next year, but the exterior is the most interesting thing initially in any case. The inside really looks like 18 shades of pink jello, which I’m not looking forward to relearning. The eyes were also quite interesting. The eyeballs themselves were rather plain, but all the muscles and nerves attached behind them were fun to pull apart. The larynx was pretty neat as well, though our vocal cords were pretty mushy and indistinct. The surprising thing was that even parts that I was dreading turned out to have their own value. The nose was surprisingly complex and the system of sinuses was interesting. We dissected the heck out of the neck, separating it into layer after layer, and actually found some interesting connections. The tongue actually has more than a half dozen muscles relating to it and pulling it in different directions. Some days were certainly tedious (due primarily to the small nature of the nerves and vessels in the head) but I never dreaded coming to class.

Working on the face is supposedly the most difficult emotionally. But we’ve been working with this body for the last couple months and I was really past being bothered or grossed out. I personally skinned a good portion of his face and scalped him. I also sawed his skull, though Riley did the final chiseling. He also sawed the head in half vertically. So although we’ve all become callous enough that this didn’t bother us, we did have our grossest moment of dissection. As I’d mentioned, I used the bone saw to work through the skull. But even though I’d cut all the way around, it wouldn’t come apart. So Riley took a chisel to it and still we weren’t able to separate the two halves. Finally we decided to go deeper with the chisel, risking damage to the brain. Riley hit a spot in the back of the skull and all of a sudden blood started gushing out. Understand that cadavers aren’t supposed to have any liquid blood in them. It’s all been drained or congealed by the time we get the body. So having semi-coagulated blood pouring out onto our table was quite the shock. At this point we remembered the blood we’d found in the spinal cord and realized that this had come from the space around the brain. We have no reliable way of recording how much blood attacked us, but we’ve guessed between one and two liters. After we’d cleaned the blood off the table, cadaver and ourselves, we finally got the skull off.

And that folks is the end of anatomy. I’m sure I can come up with gross stories from other classes and everyday life, but they just won’t be the same.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

escapism over real-life

I actually have all manner of moderately interesting things to report on, but instead I’m going to do some movie reviews.

Casino Royale – numerous thumbs up.

I didn’t feel like studying last night, so a friend and I went to the new 007. When you find a girl that wants to see an action movie you run with it. Although not a cinematic classic, I place this pretty high in the Bond franchise. I enjoyed the Pierce Brosnan movies, but Daniel Craig’s Bond would totally wreck Pierce. There’d be no competition. The opening action sequences were amazing. I admit that I’m a fan of parkour (martial arts applied to urban environments) so may be biased, but the seen at the construction site and embassy were phenomenal. There were many spots of action throughout, though the movie did drag a bit near the end. This film removed a lot of the Bond sex and replaced it with actual romance, which I think improved the film. The one-liners were kept to a minimum, which also grounded the film. It certainly wasn’t a perfect film but it was definitely the best 007 since Goldeneye and probably the best since Roger Moore.

Here’s my list of Bonds:
1. Daniel Craig (basing a number one spot on a single film is risky, but I’ll change it if he falls from grace.)
2. Sean Connery
3. Roger Moore
4. Pierece Brosnan
5. Timothy Dalton
6. That hack Lazenby

Stranger Than Fiction – 8 out of 9 stars

This movie was great. I’ve been seeing a lot of enjoyably bad movies lately (my most recent viewing had been Crank) and it was nice to switch it up and see an straight-up good movie. Again it wasn’t perfect, but it was very rewarding. I know I’m mimicking every critic in the world, but Will Farrell actually acted in this movie. Much akin to Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love and Jim Carey in The Truman Show, we get to see him attack a real film. It’s not a Will Farrell movie, it’s one that happens to have him in it. And he completely nails the character. His performance, and the whole movie, is completely deadpan. It never ceases to be amusing to place people in these surreal situations and watch them work their way through. The humor is all high-brow and the drama is understated, but seems sincere. A good time will be had by all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Social Experiment #86

I've been systematically shortening the length of my sideburns over the last week, seeing how long it took someone to notice. Today was the day.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sabotaging Myself

I endlessly sabotage myself. I'm busy in general. I'm especially busy since it's a week before our final anatomy exam. So what do I do? Volunteer to make a t-shirt for our lab group. Yes, I'm a moron. Here's the most recent version of the design.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A li'l sumtin sumtin

I often have excuses for ignoring this thing, but not this time. I’m lazy. But this is common knowledge, so no one should be surprised.

I’ve done some interesting things lately. I attended my first Ohio sporting event on Friday. It was not a Buckeyes game, although we did hear some Buckeye cheers, which makes no sense whatsoever at a NHL Hockey game. But really everything in Columbus goes back to the Bucks, so we just ignore it. The Bluejackets aren’t a particularly good team, but it was a fun game. Students get in for 9 bucks, which is exactly what I was willing to pay for an evening of entertainment. We played the Calgary Flames and won during sudden death. The evening was young so we followed up the game with a championship match of Trivial Pursuit. Yes, we are in fact the nerdiest people you know. I’m proud to say that we’re starting to diverge a bit from our normal Fab 5 of first year med students and even have females hanging out with us. Amazing I know. Also amazing is that my team managed to win TP against the trivia powerhouse team of Mark and Matt.

This last weekend was Stake Conference, which is unfortunate because I don’t really like our stake. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, it just doesn’t fit well with me. At Priesthood leadership I got a couple hours of instruction about leading Aaronic priesthood quorums and how to be an effective ward mission leader. I don’t feel that this instruction was the most productive use of my Saturday night. The general session was little better. But my bishop did buy us pizza, and free food fixes most everything.

We sang in Stake Conference on Sunday, which went better than expected. We took off immediately and attended a baby blessing of a friend of ours. There were an insane number of kids in the ward (my brief headcount indicated 1:1 child to parent, with few children over 5) which made for a tumultuous meeting. But I did discover that some friends of mine from NY live in that ward so it was good to reconnect.

A good portion of Sunday night and Monday was taken up by watching over an interviewee who was staying at my place. I’ve had three BYU guys stay with us so far, but this guy was from Illinois. It’s interesting to so quickly change from the interviewee (I interviewed here in February) to the all knowing med student, who leads tours and receives rapt attention.

Well I’ve delayed studying long enough. My further musings will have to await another bout of procrastination.

Song of the moment: “Stolen Car” Beth Orton

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Long Halloween

For you pop culture aficionados, the Long Halloween was a Batman series from the early nineties. It, along with Batman: Year One, serve as the major influences of Batman Begins. Now enough with that nerdage.

It seems that we’ve been celebrating Halloween for the last month. I think Halloween is great, but I don’t want to celebrate any holiday for a month. If I was into that I would be an ancient Greek. We had a Halloween dance a couple weeks back that seemed ridiculously early. This was however the only event I dressed up for, so perhaps I should consider it the main shebang. Did you know that Spellcheck recognizes shebang? Weird. In any case I went as the scariest creature in Ohio: the wolverine. My costume was too subtle for the general populace to grasp, but as proven by the title of this post, that doesn’t bother me greatly. I wore a Michigan t-shirt (which I had borrowed for use in our movie) along with a Hugh Jackmanesque leather jacket, jeans and boots. My hair is rather long at the moment (with both the general length and sideburn length violating BYU standards) so I was able to fashion my Wolverine tufts rather easily. However since it was a church dance, I wasn’t there for very long.

We had a med school Halloween dance, which I skipped to go to the ward film festival. Evidently I missed a great many slutty nurses (this seems to be the female, and sometimes male, outfit of choice this season) which was disappointing but almost certainly for the better.

The bishop had a Halloween party this last weekend, which I also missed. Instead we went to see Jon Stewart and the Daily Show cast perform. I wasn’t able to secure a seat to see the actual Daily Show, which is here at OSU all this week, so settled with this live performance. Although the moderator, a dean from the humanities department, left much to be desired, for the evening was still enjoyable. We ended up catching the very tail end of the party to search for slutty nurses, but there were none to be found.

For Halloween itself I threw a movie night. Because there is no such thing as a scary movie (I watched the Excorcist and part of Hellraiser this week, both of which failed to impress) we opted for horror/comedy. It was a close race between Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters 2 and Tremors, but the giant worms won out in the end. I can’t say that the evening was a tremendous success, but it was enjoyable. I’m not sure what a tremendous success would have entailed; perhaps reenactments and abundant praise for my taste in movies. Neither occurred, but we do have a couple new catch phrases to throw around the med school.

Next up: Thanksgiving. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan. Maybe I’ll just do Halloween again.

Song of the moment: “Transylvanian Concubine” Rasputina